KORINA Sanchez, the indefatigable news anchor and radio commentator of media giant ABS-CBN, has reportedly been suspended from her programs by the network. Coming from her defenders, she was not suspended but has just taken a leave of absence, reportedly to concentrate on directly helping certain relief operations in storm ravaged central Philippines.
The network has not issued a statement on the matter, which I find a bit odd given that the media assets with which Korina has been entrusted – their flagship news program TV Patrol, a primetime radio show and a weekly news magazine – are key properties. To me this means she is considered a valued commodity for ABS-CBN. So the silence of the network is deafening, them not coming out to clear the air to defend their asset.
This is a stark contrast to main competitor, GMA, which has shifted their Yolanda/ Haiyan coverage tagline to “Walang Iwanan”… a quick moral booster both to their audience as well as their own personnel who are out in the field under the most physically and psychologically trying circumstances.
But if, for argument’s sake, ABS-CBN did suspend her, the silence is also wrong. I believe that such is a clear statement of the network’s principles; that it will not stand for any such wrongdoing (all gossip at this point). The corporation owes this to the public because it is a public trust, subject to a congressional (and thus public) franchise and publicly traded stocks.
On the other hand, neither has Ate Koring come out with anything regarding her so-called suspension or in her defense. I have asked sources within the network if she had at least filed an official leave and none could produce one. (Of course, Mang Jimmy the 10th floor janitor isn’t exactly a reliable source… or is he?)
But Korina has kept silent. Silence may be golden, but unless a clear statement comes out it remains unresolved – no closure – and the gossip is magnified to unbelievable proportions.
And it doesn’t help any that ABS-CBN is known in the industry as a snake pit, much like Malacañang as described by former occupant Imee Marcos despite her dad ruling it with an iron fist (for those who don’t get it, it’s as bad as your most trusted colleague stabbing you in the back, front and sideways). So you’d really have people from within just itching to give rival networks – especially attention hungry third stringer TV5 – the latest sources-who-asked-not-to-be-named scoop either pro or anti Korina.
What is clear in this whole brouhaha is the root of all this: the brouhaha between Korina and Anderson Cooper (which many internet wags have labeled Ang Giyera ng Dalawang Ate … lol!). She basically criticized him for his shallow coverage on her radio show, he tweeted insinuating she was in her airconditioned office and invited her to the trenches (my storytelling shorthand, of course).
While Cooper was much lauded for his work, there are those who have remained skeptical of his methods and motives. He is, after all, also a media business commodity, out for celebrity, perhaps fame, and definitely personal and network (CNN) ratings. In fact, the even more skeptical are pissed at what they call “parachute journalists” – those foreign journalists who just jump in, exploit the news and people at very superficial levels, telling compelling dramas of suffering, despair and official corruption and incompetence – then fly off to their next exploitation destination.
While many saw the value of the foreign news reporting in getting the word out there (and especially getting the aid and relief in from abroad), others saw it as exploitative and demeaning, especially for those who are suffering – both survivors and the guys on the ground working tirelessly.
And of course, there are the leaders like PNoy and Mar Roxas who are the top people the nation is looking up to for relief and solutions. They look bad, we all look bad, some would point out.
Plus, there’s that fact that Mar Roxas is Korina’s husband. So the Korina-Cooper-Media dynamics border on the political, personal, national, corporate and just plain social media entertainment… uziseros in the wide, wild world.
One thing’s for sure: I take exception to the negative comments on Korina’s advocacy of giving away new rubber slippers to poor school kids all over the country. (http://www.philstar.com/starweek-magazine/2013/08/25/1130421/million-pairs-hope) Come on, guys. I think – no matter how you feel about her and even her motives – it’s really a good, practical and wise thing. These kids have no shoes! And they have to travel long distances by foot to get to their school.
I recall this BBC show called Adoption, where this American couple who adopted this Russian boy wondered why the little tyke refused to take off the shoes they gave him and even held them tight in his sleep. It’s because he had no shoes in the poor, cold lonely orphanage in Russia! The little shoes were his first, most precious possessions.
In the Yolanda news reports, the survivors showed their slippers borrowed from neighbors to get to the relief centers, women wearing ill-fitting and mismatching step ins they salvaged from the wreckage… they need Ate Koring’s tsinelas, desperately.
So Korina, if by chance you’re reading this, take your leave – or suspension, or whatever it is – and bring those rubber slippers where they are needed. I, for one, will laud you for that.